After starting in 18 of his 21 games in his career, the Cincinnati Reds moved Ricky Karcher to the bullpen in 2021. He would spend some time on the injured list in the middle of the season, but posted a 3.95 ERA in 27 games that covered 27.1 innings while striking out 48 batters but also walking 39 of them.

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Despite walking 30 batters in 19.1 innings in 2021 with High-A Dayton, the Reds opted to move Ricky Karcher up to Double-A Chattanooga to begin the 2022 season. The right-handed reliever had a good month of April, though he still walked too many batters, as he posted a 2.45 ERA in 7.1 innings that saw him walk five and strike outs 16. May wasn’t as kind as the struggles with control showed up as he handed out 10 free passes in 8.0 innings, but not allowing a home run and striking out 13 batters helped keep his ERA at a quality 3.38 for the month.

When June rolled around for Ricky Karcher the control was still hit-and-miss. He walked six batters in 9.2 innings while striking out 13, not allowing a home run, and posting a 3.72 ERA in eight games with the Lookouts over the first four weeks. Then at the end of the month Cincinnati moved him up to Triple-A Louisville. The first month with Louisville was a struggle as he allowed six runs in 8.2 innings (6.23 ERA) while giving up two home runs, walking six batters, and striking out 13. The following month wasn’t much better as he posted a 5.79 ERA with seven walks in 9.1 innings while striking out 14.

Over the final month of the season, though, he turned things around for the Bats. Karcher would pitch in 13 games and allow just two earned runs in 13.2 innings (1.32 ERA), walk just six batters, not allow a home run, and he struck out 19. Over the final 11 games of the season he had a single walk in just three games, closing out the year on a high note.

For all 2022 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Ricky Karcher Scouting Report

Position: Right-handed pitcher | B/T: R/R

Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 230 lbs | Acquired: 13th Round, 2017 Draft

Born: September 18, 1997

Fastball | A plus offering that works in the upper 90’s.

Slider | An above-average offering with good biting action that works in the upper 80’s.

Change Up | A third offering that doesn’t get used much that works in the low 90’s.

With two above-average to better offerings to go along with a change up he can use against lefties, Ricky Karcher undoubtedly has the stuff to succeed in the big leagues. But with 128 walks in 143.1 career innings he also has a huge red flag on his resume that he’s going to have to really improve upon.

During the 2022 season he had his best walk rate of his career and he still walked 6.4 batters per 9-innings pitched. Pitchers simply can’t get away with that against big leaguers in the long run. We’ve seen guys get away with it in a single season, particularly out of the bullpen, but without improvement they eventually start giving up plenty of runs. In September he walked three batters and had 17 strikeouts in 11.2 innings with Louisville. If that was a step forward and not just a blip on the radar then things could get interesting rather quickly. But given his long, long history of struggling to throw strikes, caution is warranted on that one.


Interesting Stat on Ricky Karcher

He pitched in seven games that fell on a Tuesday and didn’t give up a run in any of them, covering 7.2 innings with three walks and 11 strikeouts.

11 Responses

  1. Old Big Ed

    Karcher’s BB-rate was Joe Boyle-ish for much of his career, but he seems to be harnessing it a bit, especially as the season ended at Louisville.

    I hope this ignites another Stock-Gray verbal battle on the ability of a guy like Boyle to improve awful control sufficiently to excel in MLB.

  2. MBS

    He’s never really been on my radar, but if he can pick up where he left off in those last 11 games! We’re bound to get a surprise player in 23, it might be you Ricky.

    • Doug Gray

      It would be something if he figured things out because he really does have outstanding stuff.

  3. DaveCT

    Without the loogy being the low bar for a pitcher any more, is it reasonable to project Karcher to be someone reaching another lower bar, a three-batter guy?

    I guess I’m also trying to figure the bare minimum entry point for a reliever. At one point it was the mop-up guy, able to throw a couple innings even if he got the tar beat out of him. Taking one for the team. There was also the multi-inning long reliever, coming in after the starter got pounded. The loogy, of course. Is it now the three-batter guy? The low leverage three-inning guy?

    If so, picking up from state of the farm, relievers, who might be our entry point guys, lower leverage three-batter guys? I’m (still) thinking Luminingo, Karcher, and maybe Benschoter. If Phillips does end up in the pen, is he then a high(er) leverage three-batter guy? Musings for a lazy Friday afternoon.

    By the way, is John Sickels still around?

    • Doug Gray

      John is still around, but he’s no longer writing about baseball.

  4. DaveCT

    LL3BG? Sounds like a droid.

    “These are not the droids you are looking for …”

    • EyeballsInNooga

      Laugh as you please, but Karcher’s entrance music really is Wild Thing.

  5. MK

    Watching U of Texas Alumni Game on Saturday Trey Faltine played some left field and shortstops Fielded a ball at short and threw a laxor to first that first basemen couldn’t handle because it got to him fast. Later Trey hit a line drive groundcrule double down the left field line. With all the middle infield prospects he could project at a corner infield or outfield if a position change is necessary.

    • Doug Gray

      He’s going to need to find a way to make more contact at the plate, but the guy has plenty of tools and athleticism to work with.

      • MK

        I know they tried it with a little success with Corey Thompson previously but it they ever decides Faltine isn’t going to cut it as a position player I would hope they would give him a shot on the bump. I think he previously pitched when on Team USA.